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Overrated/Underrated

January 09, 2011

UNDERRATED

Barry Pepper in 'True Grit': As the Coen Brothers' throwback western generates awards buzz around Jeff Bridges' "Dude"-esque Rooster Cogburn and young Hailee Steinfeld, we hope this character actor's turn as the wild-eyed Lucky Ned Pepper doesn't get forgotten. Nearly unrecognizable behind a jagged beard and rotten teeth, Pepper steals scenes just as deftly as in his breakthrough turn as the scripture-spouting sniper in "Saving Private Ryan."

The Onion A.V. Club: Though this wing of the satirical website might be easy to miss given that its parent doesn't enjoy the same influence as its early '00s heyday, it's a prime source for uniquely twisted takes on pop culture. Building on the 2009 list collection "Inventory," the A.V. Club's recent features include "24 Songs That Almost Derail Great Albums" and an affectionately in-depth examination of "Whatever Happened to Alternative Nation?"

OVERRATED

Vince Vaughn's arc: It wasn't that long ago that Vaughn was part of a mid-'00s "comedy mafia" with the likes of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, but being the fast-talking cad with a heart of gold isn't funny anymore. Cut from the same broad cloth as "Couples Retreat" and "Four Christmases," this week's "The Dilemma" finds Vaughn in dire need of playing a character other than Vince Vaughn, maybe with a role in a small indie film. Who's up for "Clay Pigeons 2"?

The promotion behind ABC's "Off the Map": As the networks scramble to capture the magic of past hits, this midseason replacement seems to be telling a familiar story based on its ad campaign. Forgetting that we need another doctor drama like we need another cop show, everything from the island setting to the graphics seems desperate to recall the long-gone "Lost" crossed with "E.R." And what's with the name? Was "Misplaced" taken?

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